Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran’s Day 2011

What is the percentage of Americans that have served in the U.S. armed forces? It kind of depends on the numbers portrayed in the statistics. One answer that I heard was that there were about 1.7 million to 2 million individuals in active service and the National Guards. As such, with roughly a population of 300,000,000 in the United States, that works out to roughly ½ to 1 percent of the current population.

Others have pointed out that in addition to the current active military and guard, there are roughly 23.5 to 25 million who have served over the years and thus the number is closer to 8 percent of the population. The problem with that number is that it does not take into account all of the population of America over all of those years when those 20-some millions served.

Many of the briefings that our serving military personnel receive brings up the fact that they make up roughly the 1% of the population. 

Department of Defense figures are sometimes hard to glean from the aggregate of a report. However, this link will take you to an enlightening read about the Department of Defense and what makes up our military. It is not a short read, but is filled with a lot of interesting information.


This was one of those little tidbits that many don’t even consider:

“We Hire the Best

The Department of Defense mission is accomplished seeking out our nation’s best and brightest. Ninety-five percent of our employees have high school diplomas versus seventy-nine percent of the national work force; five-point-six percent of our troops have master’s degrees versus four-point-nine percent of the national work force.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau website.
Work Force data is based on the total population fifteen years of age and older.”

The 95% includes the “grunts” with the guts to charge into a firefight when the normal human instinct is to run from it. It was one of the things that many learned during Vietnam because the enemy expected our soldiers to run back, thus moving right into a trap of an ambush. Charging into the firefight took the enemy by surprise and hampered their abilities.

It has been said that during the Vietnam War, we lost no battles of any significance, but we lost the war because of the surrender of the media and the politicians. While American and its military personnel have fought many wars resulting in freedom for millions and millions of citizens of other countries, Vietnam was the one “black eye” on the record of the valiant efforts of our beliefs in freedom and our willingness to bring freedom to others.

In spite of that “black eye,” America and its volunteer soldiers have again stepped up to help free another 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, it will be the politicians who are more concerned about their images, social programs, and votes for re-election that will again withdraw a steadying force of Americans. The result is very likely to end with the fall of freedom in some of those countries.

America and its military made up of roughly 1% of the population have done great work over the years and highly deserve praise and a hearty “Thank you for your service.” Jo and I try to do that when we see military personnel, our police and firefighters, and our first responders in the form of EMT’s and others. More than once we have purchased the meals of those people when we see them in restaurants, and we always do it anonymously.

While I would prefer to have a face-to-face greeting and a hearty handshake with our serving citizens and offer thanks, with this blog posting I can only offer words. Those words of thanks must necessarily also go to the families of those who serve.

Thank you all for your service and your support. May God bless you all with courage and great blessings in your endeavors and lives.  To those that have served in the past, you are my brothers and sisters in arms.  Thank you for your services as well.

While I have no way of inserting YouTube videos into my blog, I will just have to insert a link to YouTube for a tribute of our military personnel, which includes a song by Toby Keith. To my great pleasure, Toby Keith is a fellow Okie.


Norman Rockwell’s “Homecoming Marine.”  By the way, for you Marines, “Happy Birthday” on the 10th of this month.  From a U.S. Army veteran, “Well done, Devil Dogs.”


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